On leaving school, I studied Fashion Design. To supplement my income I got a job working with Adults with severe Learning Disabilities and I was hooked. I changed direction and spent my professional career being in love with my work and making a difference to people’s lives.
After a long time as Manager of the Services, I left to have my family. As my boys are both now over six feet tall, I can be sure that it is “my time” and I have returned to my first love of fabrics and design. I live in North Devon and I love it.
My designs are all inspired by my love of nature and the breathtaking landscapes that surround me and further.
I am passionate about the beauty and the wellbeing of our whole planet. I listen to the rivers flowing, lose myself in the woodlands and hear the birds singing. I watch the tides ebb and flow, the sunrise and set and I smell the rain. I am always grateful to be a part of this wonderful planet and universe and love to share my vision of it with you through my designs. My scarves are painted from my heart and soul and it shows in my work.
About the Process
There are 18 different stages of creating your special and unique scarf. When the scarves arrive, they have to be washed in hot water to clean them and then be ironed. I pin into the hand-rolled hems and stretch the scarves to my frames securing them with pins to make sure they are as taught as a drum.
I create the design on paper and then draw the design onto the scarf with gutta (a rubbery resist that stops the silk dyes from spreading) and let that dry. Then I have to “fix” the gutta by ironing it. Or I hand paint the design directly onto the silk, translating the design I have in my head into your lovely scarf.
Then, I use colour theory to help me to mix and blend all the beautiful dyes into my own colours. This bit is really great fun and a bit Harry Potterish with pipettes and drops of pure colour!
Then I am ready to paint the scarf with my beautifully mixed dyes and my paintbrushes. Once painted, to “fix” the dyes I have to wrap the scarf in paper, wrap it around a cardboard cylinder and put it into my professional steamer and steam it for three hours. This alters the PH balance of the silk so I then have to immerse it into distilled vinegar to restore the PH balance. Then I rinse and rinse and rinse the scarf, wash it, iron it, package it and then post it out to you to love. That’s all there is to it!
Silks are as different and varied as the people who wear them. The silks I use are all best quality and the hems are all hand rolled. Some silks float like a kiss of gossamer and some silks envelop you in their dramatic and beautifully draping magnificence.
These differences are created by how the silk is woven and how much silk is used in the weave. Silks have different names but there is always a number next to the name and then the letters mm. This doesn’t mean millimetres, it stands for Momme, the unit weight measurement of silk. I use several different silks with different weights and complexity of designs. I use an exquisite Ponge 5mm for the iridescent Kingfisher scarf which is just a whisp of silk. I use a fabulous Silk Charmeuse which weighs an amazing 20mm for the Shawls and is so fabulous, it has to be seen to be believed. There are many different silk painting techniques that I use to create your beautiful scarf. I design scarves using one or two techniques that take three hours to create, some are very complex and use six or seven techniques and take a whole or even two days to create.
Some techniques I use require a higher degree of skill to accomplish, some are less complex, freehand designs on lighter silks. These differences contribute to the pricing of your chosen scarf or shawl. None are of lesser quality, they just serve the different needs and requirements that we all have to create our fabulous and versatile wardrobes. I am always upfront and share with you the weight of the silk I am using. This means you can make informed decisions about your new scarf, understand the pricing structure, and be safe in the knowledge that you won’t be disappointed with what you are paying for.